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KWV was established as a private wine co-operative in 1918 to stabilise the South African wine industry after several outbreaks of phylloxera vastatrix and a wine surplus. In 1997, the co-operative converted to a private company whereby the members became shareholders but were entitled to trade shares only among themselves. In 2002, this restriction was lifted and shares were allowed to be traded freely and openly. Today, KWV Limited has three subsidiaries, KWV SA, KWV International and KWV Investments, its listed entity on the JSE South Africa, which is the vehicle for KWV's 30% shareholding in liquor giant, Distell.